Update 2: Well I am going to try a new approach with Kirby. Honestly this not eating thing is getting REALLY OLD. I am about 99.9% sure this is a personality issue and not a health issue so that's why I haven't taken him to the vet. It started exactly when I started giving medications. He now has not eaten a whole meal in one sitting in about 3 days. He did not eat dinner (I don't think, I was making my own dinner and Franklin was caught in Kirby's crate licking the bowl! Lol) and he didn't touch his breakfast. My new approach is going to be you don't eat now, you don't eat. Meal time has become such a to-do with preparing the meal and getting him to eat (canned food, warm it in the microwave, mix well, pour on kibble, place kirby into crate, lots of praise, check on him every 10-15 minutes, etc) and honestly I have lost my patience for this game. This morning I did the normal routine of mixing the wet food in with his dry and placing him in his crate to eat (because now he will not eat if ANYBODY, including the cat, is near him). I gave him 15 minutes in his crate, and now I am picking up the food for the rest of the day. He is of an ok weight, I've put about 6 pounds on him since I got him, he still has another 3-4 to go but he isn't total skin and bones anymore so I'm going to try the starvation method and see if it works. I have a HUGE bag of food left for him which he loved before I started medicating him so I'm in no hurry to switch up the food at this point. We will see how starvation works as a motivator. Wish me luck! :-D
Update: Kirby still isn't eating. I've tried changing the bowl he eats from and the location he is being fed. I'm leaving his food in his crate with him and then the bowl down at night. He will eventually eat his morning meal sometime while I am at work but will only eat a little of the evening meal and then leave the rest. I checked all over in his mouth to make sure there wasn't something causing him pain and there was nothing there. He will walk over to the bowl and nudge a bunch of food out onto the ground like he is looking for the hidden pills. There hasn't been a pill in it for I think about 4-5 days. Yesterday he tried to bury the whole bowl with his nose. I talked to the vet yesterday and we have changed the medication. She has a very anxious dog too so she knew more of how to help and what route to take than the other vet Kirby saw. We put him on Clomipramine (Clomicalm) and now I just need a ton of patience for the next 4-6 weeks for it to kick in. She said to quit giving the Ace (as I suspected) because it does nothing for the actual anxiety and is just tranquilizing him. Also no need to taper the Alprazolam since he only got 3 pills. She was thinking the Ace would make him MORE anxious since the anxiety would still be there but he would be tranquilzed so feel more vulnerable. We thought maybe that extra anxiety was why he wouldn't eat. No Ace today, still no eating. At what point do I switch food or mix in wet food or chicken broth to get him eating again?
If its not one thing with Kirby its another! Finally figured the meds out, for now. The vet put him on alprazolam (Xanex) for his anxiety and the medication seemed to just make him much worse. She suggested adding in Acepromazine and using it in combination with the alprazolam but still I had a very anxious boy on my hands. The last few days I quit giving the Xanex all together because clearly it was making him more anxious. He is now on straight Acepromazine and that seems to be working. Problem is, Ace is a tranquilzer and I am not ok with just sedating my dog everyday. I want something that will help with his anxiety, not make a doggie zombie. I am going to talk to a different vet today at work and see what she suggests. The Thundershirt was a complete failure. I did as suggested and kept it on for short periods and he either became completely immobile and whined like crazy or tried to eat it so I took it back. The vet also suggested fish oil and glucosamine/chondrotin for his joints. I had him on ground flax seed already but CVS was having a buy one get one free sale so I got him some fish oil as well as the glucosamine.
My new issue is, he's not eating. I suspect its from the medication that before I was just throwing in his food. He is a chow hound and scarfs his food without chewing. Now I think he realizes there are meds in his food and he won't touch it. I've been just pilling him every morning and not putting anything in his food but now he will just go to his bowl and spill half the dish on the ground with his nose and then leave and go to sleep. This is a dog that I have JUST started putting weight on and can't afford to miss meals. I'm at a loss for what to do. I had previously put him in his crate and fed him there and that seemed to work but now that doesn't even work. There are no meds in his food anymore so I don't know why he continues not to eat. Its been about 3 days of him only eating one meal with effort and totally skipping breakfast. I know the common thought is keep his food down for 15 minutes then take it up and no food until the next meal, but he already knows the feeding schedule and he is so skinny as it is. Should I just put his food in his crate with him when I leave the house and let him eat it throughout the day? I'm hoping he realizes soon THERE ARE NO MEDICATIONS IN THE FOOD and starts eating again. How long do I wait for this to go on before I consider a food change? Its been about 5 days now of no meds in his food and since the issue first started.
Hi Melissa, please consult your vet about tapering off Alprazolam , you can't just quit cold turkey, there's a lot of withdrawal symptoms that can make things even worst for Kirby (loss of appetite for one). Ask your vet about paring Benzo with an SSRI, the right SSRI will raise his brain chemicals to the right level. Benzo and SSRI takes time to adapt / work, please be patient.
Sam, vet said I could just stop it since he was only on it for a few days (total of 3 doses given once a day instead of every 8-12 hours as prescribed). The tapering wouldn't be needed unless he were on it for a few weeks.
I am going to talk to a different vet today because I would like to get him on an SSRI and not on a tranquilzer as this current vet is doing. I know the SSRIs take about 2 weeks to kick in but I really think he will be a happier dog if we can get this anxiety under control. Its just a CONSTANT issue with him whether I am around or gone, must be hard for him to even function on a day to day basis.
In my opinion, quitting Benzo abruptly can make anxiety come back with a vengeance. Be very careful on the first couple of days of SSRI, it really pushed things over the edge for me, I cried uncontrollably for no reason and had crazy suicidal thoughts, keep in mind that things will get better once the chemicals are in balance, just be patient. Good luck and all the best to Kirby!
eep ok! Thanks. Do you think I should give 1/2 dose of the alprazolam for a few days then? I gave 1/2 dose the first day, full dose for 2 days, then stopped yesterday. He was already not eating beforehand but I worry about causing even MORE anxiety. I was not able to talk to dr. today, will try to catch one tomorrow. Activity-wise, he has been subdued but I have been giving him the Ace and it is a tranquilizer so that is an expected side effect. He still plays, pees, poops. and drinks water, just at a slower pace lol. Hopefully I can grab a dr tomorrow, its been CRAZY at work lately.
Ask your vet to see if this sounds okay, 3 days 1/2 dose, 4 days 1/4 dose, 5 days 1/8 dose, then off. From my experience, I still feel residue effect after being off for a month, but only bare minimal, you may also want to consult a human pharmacist, they are more educated in tapering off Benzo.
K I will ask the vet today. Not sure if I can 1/8 the pills, the 1/4 dose is pretty small. When tapering meds that need tapering (like steriods) we tend to do an every other day instead of 1/8 type thing. Not sure if that'd work for this or not. I'll ask today at work.
Poor Melissa and Kirby.... I don't know whether this will be helpful:
Does he like Kong and canned food? Can you leave him a BIG Kong with VERY YUMMY frozen canned food? If he could spend some time trying to get the food out while you are away, or maybe start with that you are around, would his anxiety be decreased a little?
And if I were you I wouldn't worry about the 15 mins rule now, since he only gets that much of food a day (it is not free feeding) and he is skinny.
Do you keep Kirby and Franklin together? Can you hand feed Franklin in front of Kirby? Hopefully, this way will make Kirby want to eat Franklin's food and then you could hand feed them both at the same time.
Melissa, you are great to Kirby. Just hang on there and be creative while handling Kirby. Update us! :)
Good luck! Hugs from me and kissed from DouBao.
Have you tried feeding he and Franklin side by side (maybe separated by the xpen wire) so he eats from the competition factor? Both Brodie and Kadi eat better if they are fed that way. Also, since you're trying to put weight on him, I wouldn't hesitate adding in something really tempting to get him to eat--like a little bacon grease.
I have left his food down and allowed Franklin to go sniff it (Frank won't eat it since its not "his" food unless I tell him its ok). I was hoping having Franklin looming near the dish or even snacking a bit would get Kirby to eat but no dice. Today Kirby went and laid in his crate, no interest in the food. I just left it in his crate when I left and he did end up eating it sometime while I was gone. Hopefully he will start eating regularly again though.
Lots of psyche drugs make you a little buggy in the tumtum when you're first taking them, and when you're coming off them. (by that i mean the first 2-3 weeks). I know this from experience. Blargh.
I would also suggest weaning him onto an SSRI and tapering off the Alprazolam. Alprazolam can give you a pretty nasty down when you quit them.
Remember that'll take at least a week and more like a month to really see how the medication is going to affect him.
Crossing my fingers the new vet will get him on an SSRI. She picked the Alprazolam for the instant results, but unfortunately they weren't the results we were hoping for! Like I needed a MORE anxious dog! Sheesh! lol. I have put up with his anxiety and bad behavior for 3 months, what's another few weeks of waiting for an SSRI to kick in?
If SSRIs are anything like they are for people in dogs, expect him to possibly get more nervous at first. When I first started them I was bouncing off the walls for the first week or so. He may need lots of quiet and he may not be super interested in food.